A campaign in “Sunflower Festival,” a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper-backed annual charity event for children with cancer, has attracted great attention and participation from the public only after a few days of launching.
The campaign “Toi dong hanh,” which is literally translated as “I accompany,” kicked off on Sunday in a series of activities of the “Sunflower Festival,” which is in its 11th edition, commemorating the death of Le Thanh Thuy, a high school girl famous for her long fight against bone cancer prior to her death on November 2, 2007.
The “Sunflower Festival” also promotes the work of “Thuy’s Dream Foundation,” set up by Tuoi Tre to support children with cancer.
To participate in the “Toi dong hanh” campaign, entrants can draw or make paper sunflowers with messages of wishes for children with cancer written on the works, before uploading the photos of them on Facebook with the hashtags #ngayhoihoahuongduong2018 and #uocnguyenhong2018 and tagging three Facebook friends.
Each of these entries will mean VND30,000 (US$1.3) in support for children with cancer.
After two days, more than 1,000 entries have been submitted in response to the call of the campaign.
Painting sunflowers together
A Facebook user named Nguyen Hanh My posted a painting of a smiling sunflower with the message “Let’s cherish every day when you wake up in the morning. As long as you wake up, there’re still chances for change.”
My also called for her friends’ participation in the campaign.
Dozens in the social work team of the Hue University of Science in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue gathered together and painted sunflowers on Saturday afternoon.
“Let’s join hands to overcome the disease together! Try your best,” a message from a member of the team reads.
This is the fifth time the team has responded to the “Sunflower Festival.”
The fundraising activity also has the participation of fourth graders at Nguyen Minh Quang Elementary School in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City.
When Hua Nguyen Kim Nguyen, the homeroom teacher of the school’s class 4/7, told her students about the story of ‘cancer fighter’ Le Thanh Thuy, the “Sunflower Festival,” and the “Toi dong hanh” campaign, a misbehaving boy in the class was so moved that he burst into tears.
The teacher and students then drew sunflower paintings together.
“Showing sympathy, understanding and sharing are always the best ways to protect and help children with cancer,” teacher Nguyen said.
“I hope that the children will be strong as fighting the disease takes time,” she added.
5,000 handmade sunflowers
Some tens of student volunteers from several universities and colleges in Ho Chi Minh City have completed 1,000 paper sunflowers on the 4th floor of Tuoi Tre’s head office at 60A Hoang Van Thu Street, Phu Nhuan District over the past few days.
The volunteers are targeting 5,000 handmade sunflowers for decoration and fundraising sale at a fair at the “Sunflower Festival” on November 25, according to Dang Thi Ly, a senior at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education, who is in charge of materials for the sunflower making.
The team has reused more than 4,000 sunflowers from the previous editions of the event to avoid waste, Ly said.
Particularly, the “Sunflower Festival” also maintains the long-term participation of ‘loyal’ volunteers.
“I feel that I, not the little cancer patients, am the donee as I learn from them the determination and endurance to fight pain whenever I have the chance to meet them,” said Binh, a 58-year-old philanthropist in District 11 and early member of “Thuy’s Dream Foundation.”
In addition to the campaign, a series of activities including blood donation, a charity walk, art galleries, fair markets, and art performances will be conducted in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi on the day of the “Sunflower Festival” to help raise money for young cancer patients.